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Rediscovered Books to offer free books, oppose Nampa school board book ban

Posted at 7:47 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 17:10:24-04

BOISE, Idaho — Boise's Rediscovered Books store is combating a recent book ban by the Nampa school board through a free book distribution event next month.

After learning of the school board's decision on May 9, Rediscovered Books' co-owner Bruce DeLany said he and store employees immediately set up a display supporting the newly-banned books.

"We as a bookstore feel that anytime someone says people shouldn't read these books, or that these books should be taken away as an option. It's our place to stand up and say we disagree," DeLany said.

Related: Nampa school board pulls 24 books from district shelves, book bans sparking national debate

The display, currently sitting inside the store's downtown Boise location, features some of the 24 books with a sign that reads "Books the Nampa School Board doesn't want you to read."

Books now banned inside Nampa School District buildings include:

  • "The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini 
  • "Leah on the Offbeat" by Becky Albertalli 
  • "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher. 
  • "Looking for Alaska" by John Green 
  • "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison 
  • "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood 

The complete list of now-banned books is available here.

"You're looking at books that have been recognized as educationally important, that help us look through windows into other people's lives will prompt interesting discussions at the high school level," DeLaney said. "Isn't that what we all want?"

Concerned parents in the district brought forward the list of titles to trustees earlier this year regarding the books' sexual content.

Nampa trustees said the list was discussed at length during a board work session and previously reviewed by an in-house committee. According to board documents, the panel included school librarians, district personnel, educators, and parents.

Trustees voided two books on the list due to not being present in NSD facilities. The committee recommended trustees remove six from the "challenged" books list for lack of sexual content. The panel recommended the remaining ten for further review to weigh sexual content against "educational value," the documents said.

However, trustees supporting the ban said waiting to remove the books could expose the materials to more students.

Since the May meeting, district spokesperson Kathleen Tuck told Idaho News 6 that "nothing new has come from the board."

"At that meeting, they did not create a timeline for next steps," Tuck said in an email. "So, we don't know when they might take this up again."

This isn't the first time Rediscovered Books has highlighted recently banned books, and DeLaney said it likely won't be the last.

He pointed to the recent American Library Association's annual censorship report that found 1,597 books were challenged in 2021.

Related: Book bans at public school libraries are on the rise

Still, DeLaney recognized that not every family has the financial ability to buy new books – so he plans to bring the books to them.

On June 8, Rediscovered Books store will hold a distribution event at the Flying M Coffee Garage in Nampa. DeLaney said anyone could grab a free copy of the newly banned books.

"We truly believe that more people reading more books and a wider variety makes the world a better, more empathetic place," he said. "That's better for all of us."

DeLaney said they plan to give out around 1,500 books but are looking to raise more money.

Information about the distribution event and a link to help purchase books for distribution are available here.